Ford Field is 344 miles away from NIU.
While this is over six hours worth of travel, the three hour game and the implications it bares should be enough to counter the distance and time.
NIU is providing bus transportation to the game so people cannot use distance or driving as an excuse. Not only has the NIU football team recorded it’s highest win total ever as a team, it has also produced a team that ranks in the top five in a mind-boggling 23 statistical categories in the MAC.
This MAC Championship appearance will be the fourth time that the Huskies have made it to this level, but it will also mark the third year in a row.
The game also has even greater implications, as the winner has the possibility of obtaining a berth to a BCS Bowl, specifically the possibility for the Orange Bowl.
This implication is not only huge in the fact that if it indeed came to fruition, it would be the first time a non-automatic qualifying team sent a representative that wasn’t undefeated, but because of the rule changes that will come into play in two years.
Starting in 2014, the rule will change so that a non-qualifier will not earn a berth if they are ranked higher than No. 16 and above a conference champion.
That means that not only is this game big no matter what, it becomes one of only two chances, in all likelihood, that NIU can earn the opportunity to go to a BCS Bowl game.
A strong showing of support—you know, actually being there—from MAC fans, particularly NIU fans, will raise the prospect of NIU being picked as a selection for that bowl.
College bowl games are still about money, in terms of tickets, ratings and marketability. If the Orange Bowl thinks that NIU is not worth its time to reward them with the chance, despite the rankings and numbers, they do not have to select them.
I’ll be on the bus with all of the NIU fans on the way there. Sitting for nearly six hours. Awaiting me should be the best college football game I’ve experienced in person this season and ever, for that matter.
I hope to see some Huskie hats holding down seats in Detroit come Friday as I’m sure the most winningest team in NIU history does as well.